Genealogy of the Percy, Williams & Ward Families
Please email corrections to Mike Clark
The Ward, Williams and Percy families are a long line of very well-known, 19th century London engravers and painters who descend from James Ward, senior and his wife Rachel Goldsmith,the earliest ancestors for whom we know more than just a name and a date. Although neither James nor Rachel can be described as artists, the engravings and paintings of their descendants are much sought after in the art world, and command high prices at some of most prestigious auction houses of today.
James Ward, Senior (d. c.1796) was probably born sometime in the 1730s in the City of London, which refers to that part of the medieval city that was once enclosed by the now demolished London Wall. He gained employment as a young man with the 'Cider and Fruit Merchants', a firm located near Thames Street on the north bank of the Thames River. His son James remembered him as being good with his hands, and quite industrious in his early years, such that he rose to the position of a foreman with his company, and he might have been destined for greater things, had he not turned to drink. He was ultimately let go by the firm, and never regained meaningful employment. Indeed, had it not been for the successes and subsequent support of his children, he would lived out his remaining years in poverty. As it was, his son James remembered his father as sitting in his later years by the fireplace in a drunken stupor, smoking a long pipe with a jug a ale at his side, as shown here in a sketch by the younger James.
James Ward, Senior married a pious woman named Rachel (Rachael) Goldsmith on Feb. 21, 1762 at the St. Leonard Shoreditch Church in the Hackney borough of London. Rachel, was the daughter of a tin and copper plate worker named John Goldsmith and his wife Ann. She was born on Aug. 21, 1737 in London, and baptized at the St. Giles Cripplegate Church the next day. An older sister named Ann, who was baptized Aug. 29, 1729 at the St. Botolph without Aldersgate Church, later married James Ward's older brother Thomas. Another sister named Mary Goldsmith, who was baptized Jan. 30, 1731 at St. Botolphs, married a copper-plate printer named Daniel Gent (c.1732-1782) on July 25, 1755 at St. Giles, Camberwell Church in the Southwark borough of London. This Daniel Gent, who is referred to by James Junior as 'Uncle Gent', had a shop on George Street in central London and is said to have invented a color printing process. However, of more importance, he probably had connections in the engraving business that helped his nephews gain apprenticeships in that trade.
Although nothing is known of the parents of James Ward Senior, he had at least two older brothers. 'Uncle Thomas', of whom we have already mentioned, lived near James' household and is said to have been a pious member of a local church. Thomas married twice, first to a woman of whom we know nothing, then after her death he married his sister-in-law Ann Goldsmith on June 23, 1771 at same church where James and Rachel Ward wed. In fact, Rachel was a witness at her sister's wedding. Uncle Thomas died in the late 1770s, perhaps very early 1780s, leaving behind a young son from his second marriage. Another brother named William apparently was religious also, and may have had a daughter named Mary Ann, nicknamed Emma, who became the first wife of James Ward, Junior.
The elder James Ward died sometime after the 1795 marriage of his son James. Rachel Ward survived her husband by many years and was in her 90s when she died. She was still alive in 1827, as her son James married his second wife Charlotte Fritche that year, and there is a painting by him titled 'The Family Compact' showing Rachel sitting with her new daughter-in-law. There is also a portrait of Rachel Ward (shown here) by James that was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art in 1830, but it may have been painted earlier.
James and Rachel Ward had at least six children. Biographer Julia Frankau says there were eight, but identifies only five.
- children - WARD
- William Ward (c.1762-1826) was christened on Feb. 21, 1762 at St. John Zachary Church in London, seven months after the marriage of his parents. He was apprenticed around 1775 to the celebrated engraver John Raphael Smith, probably through business connections of William's Uncle Gent. He became one of the premier mezzotint engravers of London, and through his business became friendly with George Morland the painter, and with Morland's sister Maria. William ultimately married Maria Morland on Sept. 22, 1786 in a dual wedding where his sister Ann also married Maria's brother George. Also, William engraved some 69 of George Morland's paintings, as well as numerous portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and a few historical pictures. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1795 and was later appointed mezzotint engraver to the Prince Regent, and the Duke of York. In 1814 he was elected an associate in the Royal Academy of Art. He died suddenly in London on December 21, 1826. Of his marriage with Maria Morland were born two sons, William James Ward (c.1800-1840) and Martin Theodore Ward (1799-1874), both of whom became artists, and died in unfortunate circumstances. A portrait of William Ward by his brother-in-law George Morland is shown here.
- Mary Ward (1764-1832), who follows:
- Ann Ward (1767-1804) was born March 24, 1767 and christened on April 12th of the same year at St. James Garlickhithe Church in London. She married the celebrated painter George Morland, a friend and business acquantaince of her brother William, in a dual ceremony with William and his bride Maria Morland on Sept. 22, 1786 at St. Pauls Church in Hammersmith, London. Her husband was also a close friend of her brother-in-law Edward Williams, and the two would enjoy evenings together visiting various pubs about town and drinking the nights away. In fact, her husband was given to legendary excess, and James Ward reports that Morland's drinking ultimately cost him his health. Ward also reports that he and Morland became estranged, and that when he encountered Morland several years later he was shocked to she how much Morland had aged in just a short amount of time. Not long after this encounter, Morland died of 'brain fever' on Oct. 29, 1804 in London. Ann, who loved him dearly despite his vices, died in a convulsive fit of grief three days later, and she and her husband were interred together in the St. James Chapel on Piccadilly Street in central London (Westminster). They had no children.
- James Ward (1769-1859) was born Oct. 23, 1769 on Thames Street in the City of London, and christened Nov. 12 of the same year at All Hallows the Great Church in the City of London. He spent his childhood in poverty working in the Thames Street cider cellars and as a dish washer at Three Cranes Wharf, but his fortunes changed when was apprenticed at about the age of 15 first to the mezzotint engraver John Raphael Smith, then to his brother William Ward, who had been Smith's former apprentice. Rapidly gaining a reputation as one of London's finest engravers, Ward was appointed engraver to the Prince of Wales on Jan. 1, 1794. He married Mary Ann (Emma) Ward on Dec. 4, 1794 at St. Marylebone Church in Westminster, London. Although Frankau (1904, p. 25) says that Emma was the daughter of his Uncle William, Grundy (1909, p. xxii) says she was unrelated. His sister Sarah and Sarah's husband Henry Chalon were witnesses at the wedding.
Despite his enviable reputation as an engraver, Ward aspired to be a painter, and he asked his brother-in-law George Morland for instruction. Although Morland formally refused Ward's request to become his mentor, Morland nonetheless probaby served as Ward's main, if unwilling, inspiration, and Ward was able to successfully reinvent himself in the new medium. Although equally adept at portraits and landscapes, he made his mark primarily as an animal painter, and he was elected a member to the prestigious Royal Academy of Art in 1811, four years after the Academy had granted him associate status. His first wife died in 1819, and she is probably to be identified with a Mary Ann Ward who was buried at the age of 50 on Sept. 3, 1819 at the same St. Marylebone Church where she had been wed. He married his second wife Charlotte Fritch, who may have been his cousin, on Oct. 27, 1827 in Derbyshire. Their marriage record in the parish church gives his profession as 'Royal Academian'. His career declined in his later years, yet the Royal Academy saw fit to grant him an annual pension of £100, which saw him through until his death on Nov. 16, 1859, having just reached his 90th birthday. He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London. He and Mary Ann (Emma) Ward had five children, three of whom survived, and one of whom, George Raphael Ward (1797-1852), followed his father as an engraver and painter.
- Sarah Ward (b. c.1773) was christened on Nov. 7, 1773 at the St. Martin-Vintry Church in the City of London. She married the painter Henry Bernard Chalon (1770-1849) on Aug. 1, 1794 at St. Marylebone Church in Westminster, London. Although her brother James was probably the one who originally introduced Sarah to Chalon, James and her husband soon grew to dislike each other intensely, and the contempt between them became so great that after Chalon died, James attempted to influence Chalon's biographer to portray his subject in an unflattering manner. Sarah and Henry Chalon had one child, Maria A. Chalon (1800-1867), who became a miniature painter and married Henry Moseley.
- Charlotte Ward, who biographer Cecil Grundy (1909, p. xxi-xxii) writes served as her brother James' housekeeper in 1794 when he was living at Paddington. One wonders if she is the same Charlotte Ward who married Charles Leslie on Sept. 18, 1805 at St. George the Martyr Church in Southwark, London?
Mary Ward (1764-1832), the daughter of James Ward and Rachel Goldsmith, was born on Feb. 1, 1764 in London, and christened Feb. 17 at the St. Michael Paternoster Church. She is said to have been very beautiful, but had a sharp tongue, and was given to wild ways. She was not liked by her younger brother James. She ran away with an engraver named Edward Williams, who was a drinking companion of her brother-in-law George Morland, and she had at least two children with Edward out of wedlock before she married him on Feb. 7, 1788 at the St. Pancras Old Church in the Camden borough of London, with her father as a witness to the wedding. Sometime afterward, she left Williams for another man, probably William Sandbach, whom she subsequently married on Nov. 11, 1802 at St. Mary's Church in the Islington borough of London. There is an engraving of her by her brother William Ward titled the 'The Musing Charmer' (shown at right). Another engraving by Mary's husband Edward Williams titled 'The Lovely Brunette' (lower left), which is after a drawing by William Ward, is probably of the same woman. She died at the age of 68 in London, and was buried on Sept. 14, 1832 under the name of Mary Sandbach at Saint James Church on Piccadilly Street in central London (Westminster).
Edward Williams (c.1755-1797?) the engraver is said to have known William Hogarth (1697-1764), which indicates that Williams was probably several years older than his wife Mary, who would have been born the same year Hogarth died. Although we do not know the evidence, circa 1755 is given for his birthdate in some sources. This would make him about 9 years old when Hogarth died, and 9 being the age when many English apprenticeships began, this opens the possibility that Williams briefly studied under Hogarth. Given that Edward Williams was close friends in his adult life with Thomas Rowlandson, born in in 1756, and Williams' brother-in-law George Morland, born in 1763, the approximate 1755 birth year for Williams seems reasonable.
Edward Williams is generally descibed as a "fair engraver", and he is remembered for several prints after Rowlandson, most notably 'A College Scene', and another titled 'Polygamy', which is in the Royal Collection of the Queen of England. There is also an engraving by Williams of a drawing by Rowlandson's friend Henry Wigstead titled the 'The Country Vicar's Fireside', and another after John Hamilton Mortimer titled 'The Coke and Perkin' in a set of prints of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that is in the collection of the British Museum. These engravings were all published from 1785 to 1787 by either John Raphael Smith or Thomas Prattent - Smith being the engraver who had apprenticed Edward William's brothers-in-law, James and William Ward.
Given the reputations of Edward Williams' friends - Rowlandson and Morland - we can surmise that Williams was a bit of a carouser. In fact, John Hassel tells a story in his 1806 biography on George Morland about a drinking adventure that Williams shared with Morland. Williams most likely died in 1797 or earlier, as Henry Morland, the father of George, died that same year, and he is said before his death to have asked Mary Ward's brother James the circumstances of Edward Williams' demise. The British Museum website gives Williams' death date as 1820, but this seems unlikely in light of Henry Morland's aforementioned enguiry.
Edward Willams and Mary Ward had at least two children, who are listed below.
- children - WILLIAMS
- Edward Williams (1782-1855) who follows:
- Sophia Williams, who was probably the younger child, but this is not known for sure. She married Charles Hildebrant at the Saint Pancras Old Church in the Camden borough of London on May 23, 1803, where her brother Edward was a witness. Edward later married Charles' sister Ann in the same church. Sophia and Charles had at least five children, of whom William Charles Hildebrant was baptized on the same day and in the same church as Sophia's nephew George Augustus Williams.
Sophia Williams may be the same woman as a Sophia Williams who was born March 16, 1784 to parents Edward and Mary Williams, and baptized at Saint Anne Soho in Westminster on April 11. If so, then there is a third child named John, who was born to parents Edward and Mary Williams on March 13, 1781, and baptized at the same church on April 6. However, this is speculation, and the similar names are probably a coincidence, as Sophia's brother Edward Williams was not baptized at St. Anne Soho, but at St. Mary Lambeth.
Edward Williams (1781-1855), the son of Edward Williams the engraver and Mary Ward, was born in London, and baptized Oct. 13, 1781 at the St. Mary Church in the Lambeth parish. Sometime around 1792 or 1793, probably about the time his mother left his father for another man, the younger Edward was sent to live with his maternal uncle, James Ward the painter. The fact that Ward scarcely mentions Edward in his writings, suggests that little if any art instruction was given, yet Edward must have certainly been influenced by his brief association with Ward. Another famous uncle, who likewise gave no instruction, was the notorious painter George Morland, a child prodigy whose excesses were as legendary as his skill with the brush. After a short residence with Ward, Edward was apprenticed to a carver and gilder named Hillier, who was not in any of the trade guilds but nontheless had a shop on Silver Street, Golden Square, London. Thus Edward probably began his career carving and gilding picture frames, but he is said to have also painted miniatures to supplement his income.
Edward married Ann Hildebrant, the daughter of Frederick and Sarah Hildebrant, on Feb. 12, 1806 at St. Pancras Church in London. Ann had been baptized July 14, 1780 at St. Mary Church in the Whitechapel Parish of the Stepney Borough of London, and she had at least two siblings - David (b. c.1779) and Charles Hildebrandt (b. c.1785), both of whom were christened at the same church as Ann. Her brother Charles Hildebrandt in 1803 married Sophia Williams, the sister of Edward Williams, and then, as already mentioned, Edward Williams three years later married Charles' sister Ann. Interestingly, Charles Hildebrandt in the 1841 U.K. Census listed his occupation as a carver, the same occupation that Edward Williams originally apprenticed in, and worked at before he became a painter. Possibly Charles and Edward worked together at one time or another, but this is only a possibility, and all we know for sure is that they were brothers-in-law. It does seem reasonable though that they devoted at least some of their time, if not most of it, to carving picture frames, which would have put them in contact with painters.
Although trained as a carver and gilder, Edward Williams was surrounded by relatives who were well-known painters and engravers, and as the years went by he reinvented himself as a painter. He started by copying Dutch Baroque landscapes from the 1600s, in the style Ruisdael and Hobbema, then moved on to comtemporary landscapes that, not surprizingly, hint of his uncle George Morland. Ultimately, he became known for moonlight scenes, and, as he got older, for river scenes along the Thames. However, he is best known for being the father of six sons, all of whom became artists. As their fame grew, and with it their pocket books, the family moved in 1846 from Cromer Street, London to a house at 32 Castelnau Villas in Barnes, Surrey. This house, which still existed as late as 1972 as 92 Castelnau, had a large coach house that became the family studio. However, it would appear that by forty years later it had either been rebuilt or replaced by a block of similar looking, newer structures. The many landscapes coming out of this Castelnau Villa studio, similar in style and themes, gave rise to the attribution of the 'Williams School of Painters', or simply the 'Barnes School'.
Edward Williams, who became known in his later years as "Old Williams" to distinguish himself from his son Edward Charles Williams, spent his final years with Ann at the Castelnau Villas. Ann died there and was buried on Sept. 24, 1851 at the Barnes Parish Church. As her burial is recorded in the register of the Barnes Parish Church, she is almost certainly buried with Edward in the Old Barnes Cemetery. Old Williams is said to have never quite overcome the grief from her passing, and he died just four years later at the age of 74 on June 24, 1855 at his Castelnau Villa house. He is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery, presumably with Ann, and we are told that in 1970 the inscription on his tombstone could still be read. However, as the cemetery has been turned into a nature sanctuary by the city to be left in neglect, it is now quite overgrown, and his tombstone, if still standing, is probably overgrown by bushes and vines.
- children - WILLIAMS
- Edward Charles Williams (1807-1881) was born in London on July 10, 1807, and baptized Sept. 13, 1807 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster. His father taught him to paint, which is evident from the similarity of their works, both father and son painting woodland scenes reminiscent of early Dutch landscape artists. Edward Charles lived in and around London most of his life, and many of his paintings feature the surrounding countrysides of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex. As neither father nor son consistently signed their works, it can be very difficult to ascertain which one painted a given canvas.
Edward married his first wife Mary Ann Challenger (c.1807-1857), the daughter of Isaac Challenger, on Dec. 11, 1839 at the St. Marylebone Church in Westminster with both his parents as witnesses. Mary Ann died in 1857 in Barnes, London and as her name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of March 13, 1857, she is almost certainly buried with other members of the family in the Old Barnes Cemetery. Edward's only child Alice Fanny Williams was born the following year to Sarah Susannah Horley (1838-1933), who was thirty years younger than Edward, and who had been the nurse to Edward's invalid wife. Jan Reynolds also informs us that Sarah was a pawn-brokers daughter, her father being William Horley (1812-1875). Several years later, after apparently living together for some time, Edward wed Sarah on Oct. 3, 1868 at the St. Pancras Old Church in Camden, London. Edward was 60 at the time and Sarah was 30 years old. Edward Charles Williams saw his fortunes decline in his later years and he is said to have died "in respectable poverty" on July 25, 1881 in Shepherds Bush, London. Sarah, who had been born Feb. 26, 1838 in Finsbury, Middlesex, died on Feb. 10, 1933 in Hammersmith and is buried in the Hammersmith Cemetery.
- Alice Fanny Williams (1858-1938?) was born March 24, 1858 in Hammersmith, London (Kensington registration district). Census returns show that she lived with her mother in Hammersmith after her father died, and as far as we know she never married. There is an online genealogy that gives her death date as Nov. 10, 1938, which is probably the Alice F. Williams who died during the 4th quarter of 1938 in the Kensington registration district, but this needs to be confirmed.
- Henry John Boddington (born Williams) (1811-1865) was born in London on Oct. 14, 1811 and baptized Aug. 17, 1813 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster, at the same time as his brother George. Although his father and older brother trained him as an artist, he soon developed his own style, characterized by country scenes with sunlight filtering through trees onto animals or people in a warm glade, or shadowed country lane. He married Clarissa "Clara" Eliza Boddington (c.1813-1905), the daughter of William and Elizabeth Boddington, on Nov. 28, 1833 in the St. Pancras Church in Camden, London, and adopted her maiden name to distinguish his art from that of his family. He became very popular and was invited in 1842, at the age of only 31 to join the prestigious Society of British Artists, which twenty years later became the Royal Society of British Artists. His only son Edwin Henry Boddington was born on October 14, 1836 when Henry and Clara were living in the Islington District of London. Later, they lived at Gray's Inn Road (1839-1846), Fulham (1846-1849), and Hammersmith (1849-1854), before moving to an expensive house on Lonsdale Road, Barnes, where Henry lived out his remaining years. A progressive ailment, probably a brain tumor, robbed him of his sight and abilities in the final two years of his life, and he died at the age of 54 on April 11, 1865 in Barnes. He was buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery, next to his father's grave, under his given name of Williams. Clara adopted his name after his death, and became Clarissa Eliza Boddington-Williams. She died at the age of 92 of complications from a fall in March, 1905 in Islington, London, some forty years after the passing of her husband.
- Edwin Henry Boddington (b. 1836), the only child of Henry and Clara Boddington, was born in Islington, London on Oct. 14, 1836 under the family name of Williams, but he later went by the name of Boddington. It has been suggested by some art historians that his primary motivation in doing so was to capitalize on his father's fame as a painter, but to be fair we do not know the real reason. Edwin married Helena Frances Smith (1832-1915) on Jan. 29, 1856 at the parish church of St. Peter Pimlico in London (Middlesex County). They settled initially in the Barnes, Surrey area, lived for awhile at Newend House in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, and subsequently moved to Peckham, Surrey. Edwin's wife Helena on Dec. 29, 1875 submitted to the court a legal petition (document #4159), in which she testified that Edwin left her in December of 1870, and she cited abuse, desertion and adultry with two other women - Ann Ford and Mary Foley - as grounds for a divorce from him. Her petition was accepted, and the court on Feb. 24, 1876 ordered Edwin to pay her alimony of £52/year.
Edwin after his 1870 desertion of Helena largely ceased exhibiting his paintings, and there is little further mention of him. He does appear in the 1881 UK census, which shows him living in Bushey, Hertfordshire as a landscape painter. This census also shows his 11-year old son Harry in the same household, and shows Edwin married to a woman named Maria. However, we have found neither Edwin, nor Maria, in either the 1891 or 1901 census. We do know that his sons Percy and Harry, and later at least one of his daughters, eventually emigrated to Australia. In fact, William Fraser, who maintains an online genealogy of the family that is listed in the references below, is married to one of Percy's Australian descendants. Jan Reynolds (1972) writes that Edwin in 1905 inherited over £1000 from his mother Clarissa Boddington-Williams. Consequently several online auction houses place his death later that same year in London, but truthfully the details of his death are unknown, and it is also possible that he emigrated to Australia to join his sons, and died there.
Evangeline Constance Boddington (1862-1884) was born on March 15, 1862 in Merrow, Surrey (Guildford registration district) and baptized on May 29, 1862 at St. John Church in Merrow, Surrey. She married Frederick Colman Thompson in 1882 and died a little more than a year later in Surrey.
Ada Clara Boddington (1863-1944?) was born June 21, 1863 Barnes, Surrey (Guildford registration district) and baptized on August 29, 1863 at St. Marys Church in Barnes, Surrey. She is found living with her mother and brother Percy in Camberwell, London in the 1881 UK census, and in 1885 she married a man named Arthur Mylius in Camberwell, London. The 1901 census then shows Ada and Arthur living in St. Hilda Lewisham with three children - Ida Gladys Mylius (b. 1886), Vivian Cecil Mylius (1889-1973) and Isabel Mylius (b. c.1897). We do not know what became of Arthur, but the two oldest children married in 1908 and 1910 in England, afterwhich Ada emigrated to Australia with the youngest child Isabel, arriving on March 18, 1911 aboard the H.M.S. Suevic in the port city of Albany in Western Australia. Isabel then disappears from mention, and Ada is probably the Mrs. Ada Clare Mylius who died on July 9, 1944 in South Australia.
Isabel Blanche Williams (1865-?) was born on Feb. 17, 1865 in Silsoe, Bedfordshire (Ampthill registration district). She is shown living with her mother, sometimes as Isabel Williams and sometimes as Isabel Boddington, in the 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 census returns, after which we lose track of her. She is not to be confused with an Isabel B. Boddington (b. c.1864) who died in 1936 in the Camberwell registration district of London. This second Isabel is actually Isabel Bertha Boddington, the wife of one Matthew Boddington, and she is probably not related to Isabel Blanche Boddington-Williams, the daughter of Edwin Boddington.
Percy Montague Reginald Boddington Williams (1866-1948) was born on April 23, 1866 in Silsoe, Bedfordshire (Ampthill registration district). He sailed from Liverpool as a crew member of the "West Riding" and arrived in 1887 at Port Adelaide, South Australia, subsequently settling at Broken Hill in New South Wales, where in 1890 he married Mary Jane Winifred Daly (1876-1937) and had at least three children - Ada C. Boddington (1891-1891), Helena Eva Boddington-Williams (1892-1967) and Percy John Edward Boddington (1903-1983), from whom there are descendants living today in Australia. Mary Jane died in 1937 and is buried in Cheltenham Cemetery in South Australia. Percy lived another ten years and died on Dec. 14, 1948 at Port Adelaide, and is buried with his wife at Cheltenham Cemetery.
Herbert Edwin Boddington Williams (1867-1868) was born in 1867 in the Camberwell, London registration district and baptized on Dec. 20, 1867 in Peckham, Surrey in the St Mary Magdalene Church. He died a few months later in the Camberwell registration district.
Henry "Harry" Frederick Boddington Williams (1870-1940) was born November 10, 1870 in Surrey, probably in the Peckham parish, and baptized on Jan. 15, 1871 in Peckham, Surrey in the St Mary Magdalene Church. He joined his brother at Port Adelaide, Australia in 1890, and in 1903 married Isabella Jane Brock (1872-1945) at the residence of her father Alfred Brock in Parkside, South Australia. They had one daughter Maud Isabella Boddington (b. 1906) who in 1937 is listed in the electoral rolls for Marong Bendigo in Victoria, Australia under her maiden name in her parents house. However, an online genealogy indicates that at some point she married a man named Jack Arid. Her father Henry died at the age of 69 in 1940 in Hampton, Victoria. Isabella died five years later, and we do not know what became of Maud.
- George Augustus Williams (1814-1901) was born May 4, 1814 in London, and baptized Aug. 17, 1814 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster in central London, together with his cousin William Charles Hildebrant and his older brother Henry John Williams. He inherited his artistic talent, as did his brothers, from his father. However, his work is distinct from that of the other members of his family, being characterized by moonlight and twilight winter scenes of villages and stables, often with horses and a light dusting of snow. His paintings were mainly exhibited at the Suffolk Street Gallery, but he also exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1841 onwards, and at the British Institution and elsewhere.
George married his first wife Caroline Smith (b. 1814), the daughter of Abraham and Charlotte Smith, on Feb. 19, 1835 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London in a double wedding in which Caroline's sister Charlotte Matilda Smith (1810-1889) also married Edward Joseph Brett (1815-1879). George and Caroline lived at first on London Street in St. Mary Islington in central London, before moving about 1846 to his father's house near the Thames River at No. 32 Castelnau Villas in Barnes, which in those days was on the outskirts of the city. George continued to list No. 32 Castelnau as his address until 1877, when he began using the address of No. 4 Castelnau. However, he may have actually lived at the No. 4 house much of this time and used the house at the No. 32 address as his studio.
George's wife Caroline, who had been baptized on Dec. 23, 1814 at St. Andrew Holborn, probably died sometime prior to 1854, when we find George living with, and presumably married to, Jane Newman (c.1829-1855). George and Caroline had one child, shorthly after which Jane died in 1855 in Barnes, and as her name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of Feb. 10, 1855, she is almost certainly buried with George in the Old Barnes Cemetery. The 1861 U.K. Census then shows George as a widow, living with his daughter Caroline. George and Caroline were then joined about 1877, or earlier, by George's grandaughter Maud Marion Williams, who stayed with them for the rest of their lives. George died on May 26, 1901 at his home at 177 Castelnau Villas, having lived in the same neighborhood for more than fifty years. He is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery in the grave of his father, and near his brother Henry John Boddington. George is believed to have had four sons and a daughter, four of these children with his first wife Caroline and a daughter with his second wife Jane.
- George Walter Williams (1834-1906) was born Nov. 29, 1834 in London, and baptized with his sister Caroline and his brother Francis on June 26, 1837 at the St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. He was a painter like his father, and he married another painter Jane Pearcy (1832-1872), with whom he had two children, both of whom became painters also. Jane died on Oct. 20, 1872 in Barnes, Surrey (Richmond registration district), afterwhich George remarried two more times. His second wife died sometime before 1890, but we klnow nothing more about her, and his third wife was a woman thirty years his junior, whom some believed caused his financial ruin. He ended up in the Croydon Workhouse and in 1905 transferred from there to the Richmond Union Workhouse. He died alone and in poverty on April 14, 1906 in Richmond, Surrey, and was buried in a pauper's grave. Some sources attribute to him a twin brother named George. However, as his baptismal record proves, George and Walter are the same person. He is sometimes confused with a different painter named Walter Heath Williams, to whom he is not related.
Florence Ada Williams (1858-1927) was born in 1858 in Barnes, London; and became a painter, like her father. She married Capt. Julian Augustus Ellis (1859-1926) of the 7th Surrey Corps on Dec. 24, 1884 in London, and he resigned his commission to become a solicitor. After his retirement and upon the decease of his father, he changed his name in 1921 to Julian Augustus Turnley Ellis-Fermor in order to succeed to his father's estate. Julian died on July 15, 1926 in Kingsclere, Hampshire, and Florence died in March of 1927 in Lewisham, London. They had two children from whom there are present-day descendants.
Cyril Stanley Williams (b. 1863) was born in Oct. of 1863 in Barnes, and, like his sister, he followed his father's profession to become a painter. He is found with his sister Florence and her husband in the 1891 U.K. census, afterwhich we lose track of him.
- Caroline Fanny Williams (1836-1921) was born December 25, 1836 in St Marylebone, London, and baptized with her brothers on June 26, 1837 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. She became a painter, like her father, and after her mother died, she became her father's housekeeper. Sometime in the 1870s she adopted Maud Marion Williams, the orphaned daughter of her brother Frederick. She is said to have been devoted to Maud, and the two of them remained with her father until his death. Caroline died on December 30, 1921 at Forest Hill, London, presumably while still living with Maud. As Caroline's name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of Jan. 5, 1922, she is almost certainly buried with her father in the Old Barnes Cemetery.
- Francis Augustus Williams (b. 1837) was born May 26, 1837 in London, and baptized with his siblings on June 26, 1837 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. Although nothing further is known of him for sure, he might be the Francis Augustus Williams whose marriage took place in 1881 in Lambeth, London.
Frederick Charles Williams (1840-c.1877) was born on Oct. 14, 1840 at his parents home at No. 4 London Street in Islington, London, and he is listed as their son in the 1841 U.K. Census. He married Kate Way in 1868 at Westminster St. Margaret in London and had they one daughter, Maud Marion Williams, who was raised by his spinster sister Caroline Fanny Williams. Family tradition holds that he worked as an officer at Millbank Prison, but his daughter's 1877 baptism record gives his occupation as a railway official, and shows him as deceased. Kate appears to have been present at Maud's baptism and gave their address as No. 4 Castelnau Cottages, which was the home of Kate's father-in-law George Augustus Williams. Kate most likely died before the 1881 U.K. Census, which shows Maud, but not Kate, living with Maud's grandfather and aunt Caroline.
Maud Marion Williams (1869-1943) was born June 1, 1869 at Ponsonby Terrace, Millbank in the combined parish of Westminster St Margaret and St. John, which is identified incorrectly as Brixton in one of the U.K. Census returns. She was not baptized several years later June 15, 1877 at the Barnes, Holy Trinity parish church, the baptism apparently taking place after her father's death. She, and possibly her mother, were living at the time in the home of Maud's grandfather, George Augustus Williams. Family tradition holds that Maud was a cripple with a deformed foot, and that when she was orphaned at an early age, she was adopted by her aunt Caroline Fanny Williams. She listed her adult occupation as a dressmaker, and we always find her in the same household with Caroline. She also maintained a list of family birthdates in a small book that was available to Jan Reynolds, author of the Williams Family of Painters. Maud and Caroline moved after the 1901 death of Caroline's father to Forest Hill, in the Lewisham Borough of London, where we find them during the 1911 U.K. Census. Presumably they were still together in 1921 when Caroline died at Forest Hill. Maud died many years later on Aug. 31, 1943 at the age of 74 at St. Benedicts Hospital in Wandsworth, Surrey, but her address at the time was in Hammersmith.
Albert Williams (1854-1855), the son of George Augustus Williams and his second wife Jane Newman, was born on Aug. 26, 1854 in Richmond, Surrey and baptized on March 15, 1855 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church, about three weeks after his mother's burial. He died soon afterwards in 1855 in Barnes, and as his name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of March 22, 1855, he is almost certainly buried with his parents in the Old Barnes Cemetery.
- Emily Ann Williams (1816-1857) was born June 7, 1816 in London and baptized June 30, 1816 at the same St. Mary Marylebone church in Westminster where her older brothers Edward, Henry and George were baptized. She was also present as a witness when her brother Henry in 1833 married Clara Boddington. However, Emily is best known as the mother of the Victorian landscape painter Charles Leslie (1839-1886), her son by her husband of the same name. One wonders what the relationship is, if any, of Emily's husband to the Charles Leslie who many years before in Southwark, London on Sept. 18, 1805 married Charlotte Ward, possibly a younger sister of Emily's uncle James Ward, RA?? Her husband may have also been related to the Leslie family who were the Earls of Rothes, as his daughter was given the middle name Rothes. Charles predeceased his wife, but we do not know his death date. Emily died on Dec. 16, 1857 at the age of 41 in the Wimbledon registration district of Surrey, with her son Charles junior as witness. Her death certificate lists her as the widow of Charles Leslie, gentleman. As her name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of Dec. 23, 1857, she is almost certainly buried with other members of her family in the Old Barnes Cemetery.
Charles Edward John Leslie (1839-1886) was born on Nov. 27, 1839 in the Pentonville Road area of the Islington borough of London. His parents on his birth certificate are listed as Charles Leslie, gentleman, and Emily Leslie formerly Williams. He is almost certainly the 1-year old Charles Williams who is listed with Emily as a member of Edward Williams' household in the 1841 UK Census. There is in this same household a 20-year old man named Charles, who is not a son of Edward Williams, but who is most likely Emily's husband, and the father of their son. The younger Charles in 1856 and 1857 lived with, and presumably studied under, his artist uncle George Augustus Williams at 32 Castelnau Villas. As such, he must be considered a member of the 'Barnes School of Painters'. He is not to be confused with the much better known Charles Robert Leslie, RA, the father of George Dunlop Leslie, RA. The lesser known Charles Leslie exhibited from 1856 to 1862 at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and at Suffolk Street, and he painted in a style reminiscent of Arthur Gilbert and Sidney Richard Percy. He married a woman named Esther in the late 1860s, and he may have had a son who was also named Charles, as an Arthur Gilbert style landscape (A Loch Landscape by Moonlight) exists that is signed 'Chas Leslie Snr 1875'. He died of liver disease at the age of 46 on Sept. 9, 1886 at Mitcham Road Tooting near Wandsworth, Surrey (now Greater London), and was buried on Sept. 15 in the cemetery of the Tooting Graveney parish of Wandsworth.
Emilie Ann Rothes Leslie (1844-1931) was born on Sept. 26, 1844 in London. She became an orphan when she was only thirteen years old, and presumably her artist uncles assumed responsibility for her upbringing. It would appear that when she was baptized at the age of fifteen on July 29, 1860 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church, her aunt and uncle Sarah and Arthur Gilbert stood in for her parents, as the church baptism registry shows her as the daughter of Charles (deceased gentleman) and Emily Leslie, yet has the names Arthur (artist) and Sarah Williams very clearly crossed out beneath the names of her parents. She then appears during the 1861 U.K. Census at a girl's boarding school in West Ham All Saints (St. John) in Essex County. She married Lieutenant Colonel Fitzwilliam Thomas Pollok (1832-1909) on Sept. 26, 1866, her 22nd birthday at Yorkshire North Riding, the marriage being his second. Col. Fitzwilliam had been born in India and spent much of his military career there before gaining some modest fame as the author of two books, the first being "Fifty Years' Reminiscences of India: A Retrospect of Travel, Adventure and Shikar", and the other titled "Sport in British Burmah, Assam and the Cassyah and Jyntiah Hills: With notes of sport in the hilly districts of the Northern Division, Madras Presidency". She died on Oct. 25, 1931 in Malta and was buried there the following day in the Ta' Braxia Cemetery, which is located in the town of Pieta on the outskirts of Valletta, the capital city of Malta.
- Arthur Gilbert Frederick Williams (1819-1895), was born December 19, 1819 at Newington Butts Road in Stoke Newington, London. He studied painting under his father and older brothers, and became known for moonlit night scenes, and stark mountain landscapes uncluttered by trees or people. Like his brothers Henry and Sidney, he tried to distinguish himself from the other members of his family by avoiding the use of his surname, and his paintings are typically signed 'Arthur Gilbert'.
Arthur married his first wife Elizabeth Jane Williams (1820-1849), the daughter of John Williams, on January 23, 1843 at St. Martin in the Fields in London. As Arthur and Elizabeth had the same last name, one wonders if they might have been cousins. Their daughter Kate was born later that year, and the following year Arthur Gilbert was baptized as an adult on Sept. 9 at the Old St. Pancras Church, the same church where his parents had been married. He lost Elizabeth on Aug. 29, 1849 to tuberculosis, and then married his second wife Sarah Ann Godfrey six years later on June 28, 1854 at the Barnes parish church. Sarah, who had been born June 12, 1830 at the St. Andrew Holburn parish in London, was the daughter of a clerk named John Godfrey and his wife Eliza, Arthur and Sarah's son Horace was born the following year.
Arthur Gilbert lived at times in Weybridge and Hammersmith, but he spent most of his years with Sarah at Lonsdale Terrace in Barnes, close to his brothers at the Castelnau Villas. He and Sarah moved to Redhill, Surrey in 1873, and then to De Tillens in Limpsfield, Surrey, which was their home for many years. Although he is said to have had a weak constitution, which in those days often meant an early death, he still reached the age of 75 years and died on April 21, 1895 in Croydon, Surrey, near the home of his brother Alfred. Sarah does not seem to appear in the 1901 U.K. Census, which makes it possible that she is the same Sarah Williams who died at the age of 70 in 1898 in Croydon.
- Kate Elizabeth Ellen Gilbert-Williams (1843-1916), the only child of Arthur Gilbert and his first wife Elizabeth Williams, was born December 17, 1843 in London and baptized Sept. 9, 1844 at the St. Pancras parish church. She became a painter, and exhibited her works. She married a widowed schoolmaster named Humphrey Hughes (1833-1885) on Aug. 18, 1880 at Brixton St. John the Evangelist church in Lambeth, Surrey, and became a stepmother to his three children from his previous marriage to Lavinia Bird. These children, named Lavinia, Agnes and Humphrey, were all members of Kate and Humphrey's household in the 1881 U.K. Census. Humphrey senior died in 1885, afterwhich Kate did not remarry. Presumably she raised Humphrey's children as her own, but we find her living without them in the household of her father during the 1891 UK Census, and then in the household of her uncle George Augustus Williams during the 1901 census. Ten years later during the 1911 census, we find her running a boarding house on Georges Street in Sutton, Surrey. She was still in Sutton (Epsom registration district) when she died on April 15, 1916 at an address on Collingwood Road.
- Horace Walter Gilbert-Williams (1855-1928), the only child of Arthur Gilbert and his second wife Sarah Williams, was born April 6, 1855 in the Kensington district of London, and baptized May 11, 1855 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church. Like his father and sister, he became an artist and exhibited his works. However, he did not pursue art as a career, and worked instead as a civil servant and university lecturer. He married Mary Thomas (1873-1944?) on Oct. 2, 1895 in the Fulham district of London, and had two children - Reginald Horace Gilbert-Williams (1896-1970) and Gwendolen Edith Mary Gilbert-Williams (1898-1968). He died in 1928 in the Prescot registration district of Lancashire. His wife Mary, who had been born in 1873 in Penllwyn (Aberystwith), Cardiganshire, Wales is probably the Mary G. Williams who died at the age of 71 in 1944 in Manchester, Lancashire. His daughter Gwendolen married Dudley Nisbett (1894-1955), and their grandson Patrick Nisbett (b. 1947) is the author of an online genealogy of the family that is listed in the references below.
- Sidney Richard Williams (1821-1886) who follows:
- Alfred Walter Williams (1824-1905) was born July 18, 1824 in London, one of identical twins, but his twin brother survived only a few days. Alfred followed his older brothers as a painter, and his work was first accepted by the Royal Academy in 1843, after which he regularly exhibited there until 1890, as well as with the Society of British Artists. He was close to his brother Sidney Richard Percy, and boarded with the Percys in 1857 at their home Florence Villa, in Wimbledon. He settled around 1860 in Reigate in Surrey, and the 1861 UK census lists him as boarding with Mr. and Mrs. Fitzsimon. Then in 1870 he was at Mead Vale in Redhill, Surrey. He married his housekeeper, a widow named Ann Hutchence in 1888 at Reigate, Surrey. Ann, who was ten years his junior, had been a member of Alfred's household during the 1881 UK Census, when she had a 19-year old daughter named Ada Louisa Hutchence in the same house. Alfred and Ann moved in 1895 to 40 Croydon Road in Reigate, close to his brother Arthur Gilbert, who lived on Canterbury Road in West Croydon, but unfortunately died that same year. Alfred died on December 16, 1905 in the Croydon registration district, with his estate settled in probate to the benefit of his wife, and his nephew Horace Gilbert-Williams. His address at the time was in Heath, Surrey. Although Alfred's wife Ann had one daughter from her previous marriage, there is no evidence that Alfred and Ann had any children together.
- Charles Willliams (1824-1824) was the twin brother of Alfred. He died sortly after birth.
Sidney Richard Percy (1821-1886), the son of Edward Williams and Ann Hildebrant, was born Sidney Richard Williams in 1821 in London. Although the older Williams children were baptized, it would appear that Sidney and his brothers Arthur and Alfred probably were not. The fact that Sidney's older brother Arthur chose to be baptized as an adult in 1843 at the age of 23 would tend to support this supposition.
Sidney was taught to paint by his father and older brothers, and early on showed talent as a landscape painter. Although his early paintings were signed "Sidney Williams", he used the name "Percy" from about the age of 20 onwards to differentiate his paintings from those of his father and brothers. He began exhibiting his work in 1842 at the Royal Academy, and he exhibited as well at the British Institution, and the Society of British Artists, eventually displaying about three hundred of his works at the various British exhibitions. Most of his paintings are landscapes of North Wales, Devon, Yorkshire, the Lake District, and Skye, with cows at the edge of lakes or in the heather. He was also an avid amateur photographer, and some of his paintings show figures based on photographs that he took of gypsies frequenting the area around Barnes Commons. Seven of these photographs reside in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Also, pictures survive that he took at home of various members of the family.
Sidney Richard Williams signed his name as Sidney Richard Percy Williams (above) on his marriage certificate when he married Emily Charlotte Fairlam on June 10, 1857 in the Barnes Parish Church. However, he also referred to himself around this time as Richard in an inscription that he wrote on the back of a glass ambrotype (a type of photograph) of himself that he gave to Emily as a gift, and which is still held by his descendants. He was known to the public though, and appears in the census records and exhibition catalogs, as Sidney Richard Percy.
His new wife Emily had been born as one of the younger children of a large family on July 5, 1835, probably in central London, to parents Richard Wilcox Fairlam (1802-1851) and Mary Ann Shepheard (1806-1872), and she was baptized Dec. 23, 1835 at Christ Church in St. Marylebone, Westminster. Her father listed his occupation at various times as a pawn broker, victualler (i.e., a vendor with a liquor license), and wine and spirit merchant, but he is remembered by the family as having been a jeweler, which was probably related to his business as a pawn broker.
Sidney's address when he married Emily Fairlam in 1857 was at 32 Castelnau Villa in Barnes, where he had lived since 1846 in a communal artists setting with his father, who died in 1855, his brothers George and Alfred, and probably a couple of nephews who served as apprentices. However, When Sidney and Emily married, they moved to Florence Villa on Inner Park Road in nearby Wimbledon, Surrey, where three of their children were soon born. The family then moved in 1863 to Buckinghamshire, where they bought a large house in Great Missenden known as Hill House. Sidney was at the peak of his popularity now, with sufficient income for his wife to indulge in her extravagant tastes, which apparently included a carriage and several servants. He made frequent visits to the hills of Scotland and Wales to paint, and he travelled in 1865, probably without his family, to Italy, Switzerland and France, where he spent part of his time with the painter William Callow, who was a friend and neighbor from Great Missenden. Unfortunately, his travels were cut short when war broke out in 1866 between Prussia and Austria, forcing him to return to England.
Sidney in 1868 won a prestigious First Class silver medal from the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Institute. These medals were particularly sought after by professional photographers of the day, who displayed them to promote their businesses. However, it is not known what Sidney won his medal for, as it could have been in either the Fine Arts Section (I) for Professional Artists' Oil and Water Colour Drawings, or in the Photography Section (II) for Amateur submissions of photographs. His silver medal is shown below, with his name, and date of the award inscribed on the rim.
Though once very much in demand, Sidney Richard Percy's paintings by the 1870s no longer brought in the high prices they once commanded, and as his income declined he and Emily had to give up Hill House in 1872 or early 1873 for more modest accommodations at Bickley Lodge in Redhill, Surrey. They then moved about 1879 or so to Woodseat in Sutton, Surrey, where Sidney spent his final years at an address at 34 Mulgrave Road. His knee was injured when he was thrown from a horse in a riding accident, and when his leg had to be amputed as a consequence, he died prematurely at his home on April 13, 1886 of complications from the operation. Though once quite wealthy, his finances at the time of his death were no longer robust, and his estate was valued at only £712 14s when it was settled in probate to the benefit of his wife. Emily auctioned off her husband's remaining paintings on Nov. 27, 1886 to supplement this inheritance, but these earnings did not last, and she had to be supported in her final years by her Quaker son-in-law Fred Reynolds. She died on Sept. 11, 1904 at her home at 109 Bear Road, Preston, which is in Steyning, Sussex. Jan Reynolds (2004) writes that Sidney Richard Percy is buried at Beckham, Kent, which means he almost certainly is buried in the Beckenham Cemetery on Elmers End Road, which is located in the Beckenham parish on the outskirts of London. Most likely his wife Emily is buried there with him.
Hill House, Great Missenden - The home of Sidney Richard Percy
from 1863 to c.1872
The children of Sidney and Emily Percy follow:
children - PERCY
- Gordon Fairlam Percy (1858-1870), the oldest child of Sidney and Emily Percy, was born Gordon Fairlam Percy Williams on April 12, 1858 at Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district) and baptizrd on June 18, 1858 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church. He died suddenly on the south coast of England near Westhampnett, Sussex on Sept. 12, 1870 at the age of 12 when, according to his niece Sidney Dolores Percy Bunce, he was chasing his sister Amy along the beach and suddenly collapsed and died from a heart attack or stroke. His death date is known from a small gold ring that has "In memory Gordon Fairlam Percy Obt 12 Sept 1870 AET 12 " inscribed on the inside.
Edith Maude Percy (1859-1883) was born Edith Maude Percy Williams on April 14, 1859 in Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district) and baptized on June 15, 1859 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church. She never married nor had children, and died from diptheria as a young woman in 1883 in Epsom, Surrey.
Amy Dora Percy (1860-1957) was born Amy Dora Percy Williams on Nov. 14, 1860 in Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district) and baptized on Dec. 19, 1860 at the Barnes, St. Mary parich church. Initially she followed in her father's footsteps as an artist and exhibited one painting at the Royal Academy. She also wrote some poetry and short novels that saw publication. She married Richard Freshfield (Fred) Reynolds (b. July 13, 1860), a Quaker, on Sept. 15, 1886 in Bedford Park, Chiswick, London. He was a well-known chemist whose firm, Reynolds and Branson of Leeds, provided medical supplies. After he died on June 1, 1907 in West Riding, West Yorkshire from complications related to a broken ankle, Amy became well known as a writer of novels under the pen name of Mrs. Fred Reynolds. Between 1890 and 1936 she published 41 books, including an Idyll of the Dawn (1898) and a Quaker Wooing (1905), both of which are autobiographical in part. She was interred briefly with her daughter in Italy towards the end of WWII, and died on June 11, 1957 at Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, Lancashire Amy and Fred Reynolds had the three children, who are listed below.
Richard Frederick Reynolds (1888-1918) was born Dec. 5, 1888 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire. He served during WWI as a lieutenant in the 6th Reserve Regiment of the Household Calvary and was killed in action in France on Oct. 2, 1918, less than two months before the end of the war.
Dora Eldrid Reynolds (1889-1958) was born in 1889 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire. Like her mother, she painted, and she wrote at least one novel, Whispering Dust (1913). She never married and died Sept. 28, 1958 on the Isle of Wight.
Kenneth Richard Reynolds (1892-1960) was born in 1892 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire; and married Sissie Jeanette Gray (1894-1987) during the 2nd quarter of 1922 in Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding. He served overseas in the British Army during Word War I, and interestingly was the commanding officer of Jack Bunce, who appears in another lineage on this site. He spent his final years at a house called Lone Beech in Baslow near Bakewell, Derbyshire; and died on Jan. 19, 1960 at the Royal Hospital in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. His wife Sissie, who had been born on May 20, 1894 in Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, died in 1987 in Bakewell, Derbyshire, her home at the time being the same Lone Beech house in Baslow near Bakewell where she had lived with her daughter for 30 years or more.
Elnora Jeanette (Jan) Reynolds (1925-2012), the daughter of Richard Frederick Reynolds and Sissie Gray, was born May 21, 1925 in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. She is the author of the Williams Family of Painters, which is the source of much of the information in this family history. She became a respected art historian, writing three books on Victorian landscape artists. She lived much of her life at her parents home of Lone Beech in Baswell near Bakewell, Derbyshire, and though she never married nor had children, she always shared her house with one or more of her beloved cats. She died of pneumonia on Oct. 1, 2012 at a hospital near her home in Derbyshire. Her ashes reside in the Chesterfield Crematorium.
Herbert Sidney Percy (1863-1932), who follows:
Herbert Sidney Percy (1863-1932), the son of Sidney Richard Percy and Emily Charlotte Fairlam, was born Herbert Sidney Percy Williams on Feb. 18, 1863 at Hill House in Great Missenden (Amersham registration district), Buckinghamshire, where his parents had moved to just before he was born. He was baptized on June 3, 1863 at Great Missenden, in contrast to his siblings who had all been baptized in Barnes. Like his father he became a painter. He studied at the Copes School of Art in London, where he won a scholarship at the age of 18 to the Royal Academy Schools - the date of his admittance to a three-year term at the Antique School of the Royal Academy being Dec. 6, 1881 (his ivory ticket is shown below), with renewal in Dec. 1884 to a second term. He won a second prize at the Academy in 1883 for a set of life drawing, a Silver Medal in 1884 for a cartoon of a draped figure titled "Virgil Reading to Augustus and Octavia", and a second Silver Medal the same year for a life drawing. His silver medals disappeared during the London bombings of WWII, but they would have been similar to the example shown below.
Herbert Sidney Percy was a prolific painter and exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists (eight works), the Royal Society of Painters in Oils, and other venues. His paintings surface from time to time at several of the major art auction houses in England, and many of his works hang in the homes of prominent English families. He considered himself primarily a portrait and miniature painter, as those brought in the big commissions, but he was equally adept at landscapes. He also restored paintings, and illustrated books and magazines, including some written by his close friend G. K. Chesterton. In some cases, he did the engravings for these illustrations himself. A plaster sculpture by him, and a beaten copper bas relief, both of which are still held by the family, demonstrate his versatility as an artist. Both probably date to his studies at the Academy.
Herbert married Maud Anna Maria Thompson on Oct. 22, 1891 at St. Michael and All Angels Church at Bedford Park, Chiswick, London, with Maud's Uncle Arthur Steinkopff Thompson, the Vicar of Baulking, performing the ceremony. Maud, who was born on Sept. 11, 1866 in Wandsworth, Surrey, was the daughter of Theophilus Wathen Thompson (1832-1905), a wealthy London solicitor (lawyer), and Anna Maria Abbott (1833-1917), who was descended from a merchant family in the Levant (Turkey). Maud was also the older sister of the well-known Shakespearean actress and silent film star Constance Crawley. Herbert died before Maud on Oct. 8, 1932 at his home in Hammersmith, London at 29 Sycamore Gardens, which also appears as 29 Avenue Road, and Maud died in a rest home on Nov. 14, 1948 in Wirksworth (Belper Registration District), Derbyshire. Both are buried in the Hammersmith Borough Cemetery (Mortlake). The only child of Herbert and Maud is listed below.
- children - PERCY
- Sidney Dolores Percy (1892-1965), who follows.
Sidney Dolores Percy (1892-1965), the daughter of Herbert Sidney Percy and Maud Anna Maria Thompson, was born Aug. 19, 1892 in Chelsea, the artists quarter of London, and christened on Oct. 21 of the same year at St. Michael and All Angels Church in the Bedford Park parish of Chiswick, which is the same church where her parents had married. She studied painting under her father and at the St. John's Wood School of Art in London, where she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Art at Burlington House on Piccadilly Street. However, this was a time when women were not encouraged to study at the Academy, and the scholarship was withdrawn when the donating institution, the name of which is not known to us, realized she was not a man.
Prior to World War I, Sidney became engaged to the South African lawyer, politican, and sportsman Oswald Pirow (1890-1959), when he was studying in England. However, he broke off their engagement when he returned to South Africa, and in 1919 he married another. Ultimately, Pirow became the Minister of Justice, and later the Minister of Defence for South Africa. He was a controversal figure at the start of World War II due to his Nazi sympathies, which effectively ended his political career. He and Sidney continued to correspond over the years, and a fascinating letter survives that he wrote to her describing meetings that he had in the late 1930s with Hitler and Mussolini.
The death of Sidney's best friend and cousin Vere Crawley in 1918, the death in 1919 of Vere's mother Constance, the marriage of Sidney's former fianceé Oswald Pirow a few months later, and the end of WWI that November gave Sidney much to think about, and she decided to look for a new life in Canada. She made arrangements to employ as a nanny in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on the Canadian prairie, and sailed in 1921 to Quebec, Canada on the SS Megantic. Of her time in Winnipeg, we know nothing, but she did at one point visit her Aunt Ada and Uncle Alan Thompson in Niagara Falls, New York before traveling to Lake Louise in Alberta. There at the old Lake Louise Lodge, which has since burned down, she met Henry John (Jack) Bunce, the son of a mining agent named Robert Bunce (1858-1930) and his wife Margaret Hare (1861-1945). Sidney and Jack were subsequently married on Oct. 3, 1923 at St. Andrews Church on Richards and Georgia Streets in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Jack, like herself was English, having been born June 10, 1898 in Shepherds Bush, London.
After their marriage Sidney and Jack settled in Pasadena, California, where she contracted polio in the mid 1930s, which resulted in a 10-year hiatus in her art. Although her family moved to Madera, California in 1936, where Jack had a job as a resort manager, Sidney and daughter Rosamond spent much of the time in nursing homes in the Los Angeles area, while Jack and daughter Jacqueline were at the Madera house. Sidney and Jack then moved to Santa Cruz, on the California coast, in 1946, and then inland in 1959 to nearby Saratoga.
After her recovery in the 1940s from polio, Sidney resumed painting, and became a well-known member of the Santa Cruz Art League, and later the Los Gatos Art Association, serving as president of both. She was primarily a portrait artist, and she did her best work in pastel crayon, but she was also proficient with oils. Below is a pastel self portrait she did of herself, probably during her art studies. Her husband Jack died on Oct. 8, 1959 at daughter Jacqueline's house in Saratoga, California, and Sidney died on Dec. 22, 1965 at a hospital in San Jose, California, while living at the same house. She is buried in the Los Gatos Memorial Park Cemetery, close to Jack and daughter Rosamond. Please see the Bunce Genealogy for the children of Sidney and Jack.
Williams Family Burial Records from the Barnes St. Mary Parish Church
||Sept. 24, 1851
||Barnes, St Mary
||wife of Edw Williams
|Jane Newman Williams
||Feb. 10, 1855
||Barnes, St Mary
||wife of George A Williams
||March 22, 1855
||Barnes, St Mary
||son of George A Williams
||June 24, 1855
||July 2, 1855
||Barnes, St Mary
||Patriarch of the family
|Mary Ann Williams
||March 13, 1857
||Barnes, St Mary
||wife of Edw Charles Williams
|Emilie Ann Leslie
||Dec. 16, 1857
||Dec. 23, 1857
||Barnes, St Mary
||dau of Edw Williams
|Henry John Williams
||April 11, 1865
||April 18, 1865
||Barnes, St Mary
||son of Edw Williams
|George Augustus Williams
||May 26, 1901
||June 1, 1901
||Barnes, St Mary
||son of Edw Williams
|Caroline Fanny Williams
||Dec. 30, 1921
||January 5, 1922
||Barnes, St Mary
||dau of George A Williams
Bunce, Sidney Dolores (1948-1961), Biographies of Sidney Dolores Bunce: Family papers (handwritten-date unknown), magazine (1948) article, and newspaper (1961) article.
Frankau, Julia (1904), William Ward A.R.A. - James Ward R.A. - Their lives and Works, MacMillan and Co., New York, 72 p. (333 p. with plates).
Fraser, William John (2012), Family Group Sheet for Henry John Boddington: Ancestry.com. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
Fussel, George E. (1974), James Ward, R.A., Animal Painter 1769-1859 and his England, Michael Joseph, London, 179 p.
Grundy, Reginald (1909), James Ward, R.A.: His Life and Works, Otto Ltd., London, 75. p.
Knowles, Michael, More about Alfred Walter Williams (1824-1905), Information supplied by Mr. Michael Knowles OBE, an online article available at People of 1887 - The History of Redhill and Reigate Surrey. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
Nisbett, Patrick T. (2007), Family Group Sheet for Edward Williams (ver. 1): Ancestry.com. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
Nisbett, Patrick T. (2008), Family Group Sheet for Edward Williams (ver. 2): FamilyTreeMaker Online. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
Reynolds, Jan (1975), The Williams Family of Painters, Antique Collectors Club, 331 p.
Reynolds, Jan (1997), Landscapes with Cattle, Antique Dealer and Collectors Guide, v. 51, n. 4 (Nov.), p. 42-45.
Reynolds, Jan (2004), Sidney Richard Percy, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - online edition, Oxford University Press, Retrieved 15 April 2013.
UK Census Records, 1841-1901 and Parish Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records: online databases available on Ancestry.com, Familysearch.org and Find My Past.
Please email corrections to Mike Clark